Can I Become a Security Guards with a Felony or Misdemeanor?

We’ve all made mistakes in our lives.  Whether it was cheating on a high school math test or going swimming after eating, we’ve all experienced those uncomfortable moments when we wished our lives had a “rewind” button.  But what happens when our mistakes have the power to influence our future?  Can a few moments of weakness affect the kinds of jobs we’ll have years down the line?

The short answer is yes…especially when applying for a Guard Card and the people in charge have to run a criminal background check.

So does this mean that if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, you should forget all about becoming a security officer?  No way!  At least in the great (and forgiving) State of California!  The Golden State has a rule that if someone has been convicted of a crime, he or she still has a shot at getting a second chance through a Certificate of Rehabilitation.

Now you’re probably asking, “What is a Certificate of Rehabilitation?”*

This is an official, court-certified document confirming that you are now a person of integrity, obeying all the laws and demonstrating high moral character. Basically, it says that although you once committed a crime, you’ve since turned your life around for the better.

Once you get your Certificate of Rehabilitation in California, you can no longer be automatically denied a license from state licensing agencies just because of your felony or misdemeanor conviction history.

So let’s say you do have some blemishes on your record and are currently overwhelmed with the joy of knowing that there is something you can do to help your situation.  How do you get a Certificate of Rehabilitation?

Each California county has its own forms to file, but here are a few things every county court will require from you:

  • You must have lived in California for at least 5 years after being released from prison
  • At least 30 days before your court hearing date, you must notify:
  • The District Attorney of the county you live in now
  • The District Attorney of the county where you were originally convicted of the crime
  • The Governor’s Office

The court may also ask you for records and reports of the crime, including:

  • Trial and prison records
  • Medical and psychiatric records
  • Reports from your probation and parole officers

And here’s some good news to encourage you even more:

  • You can hire a lawyer to help you out with this
  • California courts don’t charge a filing fee for this application


*All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about becoming a security guard.  The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice.  

CC Image courtesy of Kathryn Decker on Flickr

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